There is an ongoing not-so-silent auction being conducted for disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love. Amid the lull of the NBA’s off-season, after the dust has settled from the transfers and transactions of the top free agents on the market, the biggest prize on the table seems to be Kevin Love.
Love is expected to make $15.7 million this 2014-15 season and another $16.7 million in 2015-16, the last year of existing contract with the T-Wolves. The last year, however, is a player option and many people believe that Love intends to opt out his final year and test free agency.
On several occasions Kevin has expressed his frustrations with his team’s poor performance. Minnesota failed to make the playoffs, again, in 2013-14 with a 40-42 record. Teams that can be title contenders and are seeking for that last, integral piece are believe that Love is that kind of player who can make a big difference. Whether Minnesota believes it can convince Kevin to stay is a non-issue at this point. They are doing their due diligence and entertaining trade offers for their marquee player.
What’s not to love?
There is no doubt that Kevin is one of today’s top power forwards. A couple of years from now, after NBA legends such as Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki are beginning to fade from the limelight, Kevin Love and arguably Anthony Davis will be the top power forwards in the world. Love has a very high basketball I.Q., is a proven scorer and a very capable rebounder. In 2013-14 Kevin averaged 26.1 ppg, 12.5 rpg and 4.4 apg.
Even though he is not known for his defense, Love’s talent for rebounding and ability to make three-point shots (2.4 3ppg at 37.6% in 2013-14) make him a useful stretch four with a unique skill set.
Thinning of the herd
At this point the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls appear to be the top two potential destinations for Love. Interest from the Golden State Warriors has cooled off ever since it has been made clear by Minnesota that any deal involving Love would also need to have Klay Thompson as part of the package. The Warriors value Thompson very highly as his offense helps relieve defensive pressure off Stephen Curry. The tandem has proven to be one of the league’s top sharpshooting backcourt duos. The Boston Celtics have officially “moved on” from their pursuit of Love and feel that they do not have the assets to outbid the Cavs and Bulls at this point.
Upping the ante
LeBron James, who recently returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been very vocal about how he would enjoy playing alongside Love and contending for a championship with him. Love, for his part, has responded that he found the idea teaming up with James and Kyrie Irving “intriguing.”
At first, the Cavaliers have resisted Minnesota’s desire for them to include 2014 first-overall draft pick and recent Summer League standout Andrew Wiggins as part of the package. The T-Wolves have a keen understanding of what Love is worth and simply want the best possible combination of assets to fill in the void he will leave behind. The Cavs have since appeared to have softened their stance on letting go of Wiggins. Andrew has a lot of potential and can become an elite player down the road, but will need a few seasons under his belt. Sources say that Cleveland’s current “best offer” for Love is Andrew Wiggins, 2013 first-round pick Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick. It’s a package that would give Minnesota a solid base with which they rebuild their franchise.
The Chicago Bulls have made a recent push for Kevin, initially offering Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. Other modular pieces include rookie Doug McDermott and talented Spanish-Montenegrin player Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls’ offer makes speeds up Minnesota’s rebuilding timeline, as the players they would be receiving would make an instant impact.
Who will win the Kevin Love sweepstakes?
Minnesota probably not play this waiting game for far too long as both top potential trade partners are reaching deep into their pockets as it things stand. As of now it appears that Cavaliers are the favorites, but the Bulls are providing a very convincing and competitive package. Either way, expect whichever team to land Kevin Love to become the number one title contender in the East, if not the league as a whole.